Very often I am asked about life after the GROM. “What does a guy like you do in retirement? Don’t you miss all that adrenaline and heat?” I don’t like answering such questions, but I’m always impatiently waiting for a moment when I can take my backpack and simply go hiking.

I still have this habit from GROM that I plan each trip as if it was a military operation. My plans are always most detailed. From choosing the route to making sure I’ve packed every single item, such as black tape, knife and plasticuffs. No, I’m not afraid that such a detailed plan will make the trip loose its appeal and destroy my chances for adventure. I prefer to be prepared as well as I can, and adventures somehow always find me one way of another.

Besides, if you don’t study the timetables diligently, it might turn out that the journey to the Himalayas will take you much longer than planned.

The clothes of other passengers remind you that you’ve just changed a time zone and your cultural comfort zone. But it isn’t until you land in Kathmandu and realize that the only person that looks exotic is yourself that the journey really begins.

At the airport, you can meet hucksters who promise to get you anything you want and take you anywhere you desire at the lowest price possible. I recommend hiring guides with a Ministry of Tourism license. Having said that, I later learnt that cheating doesn’t lie in the Nepalese nature.

I set off with my two friends from GROM and a pair of trekking-lovers, Kuba and Anna, from Manchester. Our goal was to go along the Annapurna route. The first stage in Nepal was to get to the starting point. We covered the treacherous, winding, mountain roads with a hired TATA Safari off-road car and a driver. Let’s face it, going by car in this region of the world is always a source of additional adrenaline no one is interested in – drivers are almost always unpredictable, roads lead to precipices, accidents are a norm.

Life After GROM: Traveling the Himalayas

The first day brought us some more adrenaline as we had to give first aid to a wounded motorcyclist. Before traveling to the Himalayas, I suggest refreshing your first-aid training because you never know what might happen. It took us five hours to get from Katmandu to Besi Shahar, our first stop. Until recently, it had been the last place accessible by car. Today, trekking can begin much further along in Tal, where we went the next day. The trek from Tal to Kyupra was 27km. We reached the point of 2600 MASL. After a day like that I fell asleep like a baby.